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Victory: Crucitas gold mine cancelled for environmental harm

In Costa Rica, for the first time, a high-level court cancelled a large-scale mining project for the first time because it violated national laws and threatened the health of the environment. AIDA played an important role in establishing this precedent.

The company, Industrias Infinito, with the support of the previous government, planned to construct an open-pit gold mine in an incredibly biodiverse area near San Juan River, which forms the country’s border with Nicaragua.

The construction and operation of the mine threatened not just the environment but the cultural survival of 32 communities whose way of life depends on tourism and sport fishing in the area.  

The fight to stop Crucitas began in 2008 when AIDA warned the Costa Rican government about potential international law violations and environmental impacts that had to be considered before allowing for the project’s implementation. We recommended suspending all work on the project until legal compliance and the protection of the environment and human health were guaranteed.

In November 2010, the Costa Rican Contentious Administrative Court cancelled the project’s concession, reiterating the importance of complying with legal standards when approving projects.

Though the company appealed the ruling, an appeals court later rejected their request and the Crucitas gold mine was cancelled for good.

We congratulate the national NGOs who worked on this case, especially the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center (CEDARENA), for their tireless efforts in defense of the environment and human rights.

It is our hope that the precedent established in the case will be replicated in nations across Latin America.